Welcome once again to Pezhead Monthly. This month's sole feature, in addition to a cover image that Pezzifies a whole other set of vintage pieces, is my recap of Pezamania 24. Astute readers of Pezhead Monthly will note that my Pezamania recaps are usually quite detailed, and this year is no different. be sure to read all the way through, as there are more adventures and pictures on the next page, including a picture of my Pezamania haul, which seems to get bigger every year.
This month's issue comes out a little later due to a very busy summer. In fact, I just returned from a vacation to the US Northeast, which just happened to include a return visit to the Pez Vistor's Center. I'll share some details of that adventure in the next issue.
Take care and see you next month!
This past July, all eyes, necks, and feet were once again on Independence, Ohio, the site of the annual Pez celebration known as PEZAMANIA. This year marked 24 years for the big event, and I made the most of it by counting down the 24 days leading up to it.
This year also marked the first time that I brought my girlfriend Jessi to Pezamania. For the past 6 years, she had only heard about it from me indirectly, through fevered texts and phone calls telling her about all of the new stuff I was finding. I still remember that first year (a couple of weeks before our first date, but heck, I'm counting it), when I enthusiastically texted her about the fantasy Christopher Walken Pez dispenser I had come across. After a few years of fellow Pezheads urging me to bring her along, and after Jessi expressed her own curiosity to experience all of the action firsthand, it seemed like it was finally time. Granted, we did go to the Minnesota convention a couple of years ago, but that was only the floor show, and compared to Cleveland, it was significantly smaller. So, she at least had an idea of what to expect, but Pezamania is in a class by itself.
An early concern, of course, was the packing situation. Every year, it becomes more of a struggle to pack the car even when I go to Pezamania on my own. There always seems to be more Pez to sell, and more Pez to bring home. Last year I even brought my own dolly, in the event that I was unable to secure a luggage cart from the hotel. And the Pez shirts, my God, the Pez shirts! How would I be able to make room for my girlfriend and her stuff, in addition to all of this?
It turns out that this year I brought significantly less stuff to the big Pez convention. This is because I finally realized that it is not important to get 2 (or more) of each new release, thereby resulting in my trying/hoping/needing to sell or trade them at the Thursday trade party. So, I only brought one instead of two big bins of stuff, and the dolly was not needed either.
With both of us (and our stuff) successfully fitting in the car (albeit just barely), and armed with the standard playlist of Pez songs on my iPod, we set off on a course for Pezamania.
Although I usually arrive at the convention on Thursday, I thought that this year we would arrive on Wednesday. By now I am well aware that Thursday is when most everyone arrives, and it can be kind of crazy, so I thought getting there a day earlier would get us off to a less stressful start. Having gone to these conventions since 2001, I often forget the earlier years, when it can be quite overwhelming for Pezheads new to the event, let alone friends and family who come with them!
It turned out that this was a good plan. We got our registration packets right away from John and Linda, who were as always very nice and welcoming to us. There were some other Pez friends who were there who I was able to introduce Jessi to as well, not to mention lots of Pez stuff available for purchase and some complimentary food and beverages. Then, we were quickly off to begin room-hopping, which was not so crazy yet. It gave Jessi a chance to see these great Pez items, and the unique, definitive room setups as well, without dealing with crowds. Wednesday and in the days that followed, I got to introduce her to some of my favorite dealers, including John, Joe, Russ, and Bill (she had already met Tom, Chris, and Ron in Minnesota). I was, however, quite bummed that she did not get to meet Red and Silvia, who were both unable to make it to Pezamania this year (and quite bummed that I did not get to see them either!)
She also met Rick, Pezamania's very own emcee extraordinaire, and a warm, funny, and crazy guy on top of that. When he saw us in the hallway, he stopped in his tracks, expressing disbelief that I had finally brought her with me to Pezamania. He ran up to her and gave her a big hug. Rick, and everyone for that matter, was so nice and friendly to Jessi. While they joked (?) about how challenging it must be to put up with me, they treated her with nothing but kindness and respect, with open arms, hugs, laughter, and a feeling that I can only describe as family.
For any friends or family of Pezheads, this warm welcome is what you can expect should you come with them to Pezamania!
At this convention, Jessi also got to see me in action as a Pez buyer, in a setting much more exciting and different than a Walmart or local flea market. And, on a much larger scale. She knew that I had, on several occasions, spent $200 or more on a single dispenser, but she had never seen this firsthand. At first I held back, even though I did see both of the Eerie Spectres of the set that I was hoping to round out. I only picked up a few new pieces on Wednesday, the first of which was the new Flash dispenser, and then the new Disney Juniors set. On Thursday, though, I kicked it into high gear. I picked up many new sets, as well as my first big score, Air Spirit, one of the Eerie Spectres.
Lots of stuff happened on Thursday, in addition to all the Pez scores and the insanely good lunch at Melt Bar and Grilled. First, we went to ba Sweetie, the local candy warehouse store that I have gushed about many times in previous recaps. While I was a little disappointed that they got rid of their impressive carded display and most collector sets in favor of keeping the cards in their original shipping boxes, it was still nice to see such a large selection of Pez as soon as we walked in the door. Of course, I had every single one of them or so I thought. A family of Pezheads from the convention who were also in the store eyed, on the very top shelf and out of reach, an unopened Phineas and Ferb box. This was a big deal, because one of the newest Pez releases is the latest addition to this set, Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Would there be any of these new Pez in that box? One of the Pezheads flagged down an employee and pointed at the box at the top shelf. The employee was not exactly enthused about this, but nonetheless grabbed a ladder and got the box down for us. We tore that sucker open (the box, not the employee- we are not animals!), and each walked away with a couple of new Pez. I am telling you, it was Doofenshmirtzapalooza 2014. Their family had multiple collectors; as for me, I bought an extra one to sell or trade at the swap party later that night. After we got our Doofenshmirtz on, we toured the rest of the store and each picked up some more candy. In fact, as I type this I am snacking on some Jones Carbonated Candy that I got there, specifically the MF Grape flavor.
Also on Thursday was the swap party. While time worked against me and I did not have a new Pez Poetry Slam to offer this year as I had in years past, I did put together some highlights from the aforementioned 24 Days of Pezamania. I made use of the wonderful technology of QR codes, which could be scanned by the reader to directly link to such things as Hulkamania vs. Pezamania or an animated, Pezzified GIF from the movie "Beetlejuice". And, thankfully, I was able to sell a good portion of the stuff I brought (which, as always conveniently allowed more spending money for even more Pez to take home with me!). At one point I left the table to see what others had to sell or trade, and Jessi was kind enough to man the table, and even sold a couple of items for me! The event was great and was another good opportunity for Jessi to meet some more Pezheads. And, as we made our way out of the room, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that someone had a gold-haired Pez Pal for sale, which I was more than happy to add to my Pez scores!
Next up on Thursday came Pezamania Wars, the Pezamania version of the classic card game War. Jessi and I were both eliminated from the tournament fairly early, a feeling that I experience all too often at these things. But, in between the games, they also called door prizes, and wouldn't you know it, Jessi won the very first prize! It included a gift certificate to Bonefish Grill, as well as a bottle of wine. Quite nice! Here she is with her big prize (and a pretty cool Pez shirt too!).
(We have since used the gift card at a local Bonefish Grill, a restaurant that we had never been to previously. We had a great dinner there and I am sure we will be back. Thanks much, Pezamania!)
Last, but certainly
not least, fellow Pezheads Eric and Judy invited us up to their room
after Pezamania Wars to have some drinks with them and some other friends.
It was a great chance to unwind from the day's activity and talk about
Pez, Pittsburgh, and other fun stuff. Jes and I really appreciated their
hospitality (as well as their booze!) and were glad to have the chance
to hang out with everyone. Good times!
The Pezamania 24 recap continues here.
Enjoy Pez, but please do so responsibly.